“Let’s unite our strengths, both those who are not particularly interested in faith and those who believe, because the Ideal of a humanity that is free and equal hastened by fraternal respect and mutual love’ is too beautiful and really necessary.” Chiara Lubich
In Italy, other parts of Europe and South America there are dialogue groups made up of a mix of people of those who have a faith and others with no particular religious affiliation. The members of these groups all have the desire to work together to create fraternity within the family of humanity. The dialogue serves to develop and deepen the promotion of human values shared through life and reflection referring to such themes as ‘secularism and faith’ or other contemporary topics. Some people from the groups are involved in initiatives that are cultural or provide solidarity in some way for those in need.
By the end of the 70s the Movement spread beyond the confines of church and a natural dialogue opened up with agnostics, atheists and people indifferent towards religion. The rapport between all was such that each felt free to express their thoughts certain that unity also means having profound respect for the person, his dignity, identity, culture and needs as well as what he believes in. To this end in 1978 an ‘International Centre for Dialogue with People who hold no Religious Affiliation’ was set up. In 1992 at the Mariapolis Centre in Rome the first international congress was organised, others have followed since. In 1995 in Loppiano (near Florence) the first meeting with Chiara took place, the second meeting with Chiara happened in 1998 in Castel Gandolfo (Rome).
In December 2003 Chiara suggested running courses which would strengthen the values each one holds. Some of the points of the spirituality of unity were covered (for example God-Love, doing the Will of God, the art of loving and mutual love) and the corresponding non religious themes (the choice of values and listening to conscience, the culture of giving, reciprocity and solidarity).
This is a dialogue that is all encompassing, it isn’t sectarian or restricted to specific times and places as it comes from an openness to one another that is rooted within the heart of thought and action.
It is possible to hold open dialogue if both parties have:
– An awareness of their own identity
– Total respect for the other and their culture
– The ability to give a great deal and also receive from others
– Inexhaustible patience in listening to understand the reasoning of the other, as enrichment
– The awareness that the beliefs and values of the other are as dignified as our own
“Dialogue between friends” is a newsletter which is translated into 5 languages and favours the exchange of experiences and reflections.
Secretariat – Dialogue with people of no religious affiliation
Via Frascati, 306 cap. 00040 Rocca di Papa (Roma – IT)
tel. +39-06-9497488; fax +39-06-94790205
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.incamminodialogando.blogspot.com